National Security

Afghan Who Fought With U.S. Forces Finds Home in America

After five years of pressing the government, U.S. soldiers were able to welcome their buddy to his new home.

Thomas Gallatin · Jul. 19, 2017

The true American story is the history of people seeking and fighting for freedom. Recently, an Afghan translator who worked with the U.S. military for 13 years and was involved in more than 500 combat missions was finally allowed to emigrate to America under the Special Immigrant Visa program. For five years, several U.S. soldiers who fought with Fraidoon Akhtari, or “Fred,” as they called him, pushed government bureaucrats to eventually grant asylum to him and his family in the U.S. Former FBI agent David Lemoine said, “Because [Fred] assisted in the capture of a high-ranking Taliban member … a death threat was placed on his life and they put a note on his father’s door and they said, ‘We know where your son is going. … He will be captured alive and he will die like no other.’”

Sgt. Ryan Craig credited Fred with saving his life: “Completely cut off, no air support, limited artillery support, and throughout the entire battle Fred was redirecting us, ‘Hey, they’re going to come from the east side. They’re going to come from the west side, you guys need to shift fire this way.’” Craig continued, “And just giving us that valuable actionable intelligence that single-handedly kept all of us safe.”

Upon greeting and embracing his buddies from the Pennsylvania National Guard who had worked so persistently to get him to the States, Fred said of the soldiers, “For these guys, I do not know what to say, they are the greatest people. They are members of my family.”

Sari Long, a lawyer who worked with International Refugee Assistance Project for three years to get Fred to the U.S., said, “He is a poster child for the special immigrant visa program. He put in 10 years of service, he was in over 100 firefights and incidents shoulder-to-shoulder with his U.S. soldiers he was working with.” Fred is just one of 14,000 Afghan translators who have served the U.S. since 9/11. Many live with a price on their heads for having aided America in its fight against the Taliban. These are the types of individuals who deserve to be at the front of the immigrant refugee line. They have proven their loyalty and love of Liberty. These are the types of individuals we should be welcoming with open arms.

And Fred’s five-year wait certainly is a distinct contrast to the speed with which Barack Obama welcomed in unvetted refugees from a crisis he helped to create in the Middle East.

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